By Sarah Myers
The executive order passed a few weeks ago has drastically changed the dynamics for refugees fleeing from war zones. The order called a ban on refugees from seven countries, but is halting the entry of all refugees entering United States borders. Although the order has been overturned by courts, the White House announced to release another executive order on this issue. This event is contributing to the largest misplace of refugees since the Second World War, leaving many of the refugees now without the resourceful power of the US government to find a new home.
The crisis leaves refugees who have been waiting to be granted entrance to the US in a further limbo as the vetting process is being refined in ways yet unclear to the public as to how it will be more stringent on the newcomers. With minimal governmental resources, refugee aid is primarily now left in the hands of NGOs and private citizens. Organizations like Movements and Atheist International Alliance work hard to aid these refugees, but the numbers are much too difficult to keep up with due to the disproportionate number of manpower and asylum requests.
Stories such as this one highlight the desperate need for aid that comes from all free citizens, now that federal aid is being temporarily withdrawn. The story of personal terrorism after blasphemy is not uncommon among many of the refugees who look to escape to a freer land in secularism and religious values.
A Pakistani man named M Aman Ullah is awaiting assistance in both monetary and food resources to help both himself and wife, Walaiha Aman. She recently spent a 43 month term of imprisonment in solitary confinement in central jail Lahore, Pakistan, on the charge of blasphemy for speaking out against Islamic extremism.
The aid of the well-known human rights lawyer, Asma Jahangir, granted a rare bail opportunity in October 2016 that caught the attention of national and international news. Unfortunately the ruling does not grant a bail from the personal ramifications of suicide attempts during imprisonment and the public ramifications of physical attacks ensued on this woman during her time in court. Walaiha continues to suffer from mental illness and requires medical attention, while physical attacks including a gang rape and death threats are increasing in frequency, undermining the couple’s safety in their country.
In July 2016 Walaiha was abducted in Karachi, only to escape with the help of security agencies. The likes of these extreme issues cannot be brought proper attention in their nation due to the opposition's pressure on police and security issues.
This case is enflaming protests and uprising in the country against the bail ruling and the couple is now under a state of constant death threats in their own country.Without the help and word spreading of affluent and abled internationals, Mullahs organizations and militants like Khatam e Nabuwat, Sipah e Sahaba, Jamiat Ulema e Pakistan and other
Muslim clerics and forums (who are known to oppose other cases, like Asia BiBi ) are holding demonstrations and are hunting this couple down to attack them for financial reward and a free grant to heaven at the time of this writing.
Walaiha is currently hiding abroad but the couple remains to have no resources for survival in shelter, travel, relocation, and other daily necessities for the dire situation. Their desperation increases as the violence escalates. They need financial and practical assistance to help with court fees, living expenses, medical remedies, and a plan to get their remains out the country.
More organizations are giving finances to the terrorists that attack these outspoken critics than to the critics who have suffered from their attacks. The western world must show that we are as generous to our cause as the militants. Western aid and organizations bear the resources and freedom individually to sustain self protection, but collectively we may pool together our resources to relieve individuals like this couple, of the effects of terrorism.
Activism that helps those overseas is something that cannot be taken away, and we must remember that person-to-person methods may still hold power in aiding individuals in the midst of uncertain policy-to-person relations.
If anything, private citizens of the affluent countries, like the US, may aid these refugees by joining organizations like Movements and donating their skills to whatever use they can. Refugees are in need of financial, mental health, physical health, housing, and guidance in the transition process of asylum status. May we hold human rights abuses and pleas in our duty to protect fellow secularists as high as our opponent’s value of terrorism in their devotion to their own ideologies.
The couple sends their hopes to the western world for resources to accomplish their goals and save their lives. Please share this article and connect with those who may be able to help this couple.
Sarah Myers is an undergraduate student and writer.
Crowdsourcing the struggle for human rights. Be part of the solution at Movements.org. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Movements.